Training a new dog is important for both you and your dog. It helps keep everybody safe and it’s much better for a dogs’ well-being – an untrained dog is far more likely to be anxious, depressed, and even aggressive.
There are many dog training centres all over the UK, but it’s fairly easy to do it yourself. These tips will get you started:
Dog training basics
Teaching your dog to sit is pretty easy, so it’s a good place to start their obedience training.
- Start by holding a treat close to your dog’s nose
- Start raising your hand up. Your dog will follow the treat with their eyes until they’re in the sitting position.
- Once they’re in the sitting position, say “sit” in an enthusiastic tone. Then give them the treat, followed by lots of affection and positive praise.
Put aside 5-10 minutes each day and repeat the process until your dog sits by voice command alone. It’s a simple trick and a solid foundation for the rest of their training.
Once they’ve mastered the sit instruction, it’s time to move onto the stay command.
- Start by asking the dog to sit.
- Then show them an open palm and say “stay” in a firm but friendly tone.
- Start walking backwards and reward them with a treat if they don’t move. Always reward them for staying, even if its only for a few seconds!
- After that, gradually increase the number of steps between treats and praise.
This exercise is all about self-control – something that puppies and high energy dogs are not particularly well-known for! So don’t expect your dog to get this one straight away. Focus on making small but consistent improvements instead.
Advanced dog training
This one is a bit tougher and it requires a gentle hand. A dog sees lying down as a submissive gesture so get it wrong and they could become fearful or even aggressive. Keep this training positive and relaxed, especially if you have an anxious or nervous dog.
- Hold a treat in a closed fist.
- Let your dog give it a bit of a sniff, then put your hand on the floor.
- Once their head follows, slide your hand across the floor until they’re in the lying position,
- Say “down” or “lay down”, then give them the treat and lots of positive encouragement.
Repeat this every day until your dog catches on. Never push them down into the lying down position. A dog will see this as a sign of dominance and may not like it.
There’s always the chance your dog could slip off the lead, or escape through an open door, so this command is a great way of keeping them safe. It’s also really simple to teach. All you need to do is:
- Put a lead on your dog.
- Get down to the same level as your dog, then gently pull on the leash while saying “come here.”
- As always, reward them with a treat and repeat on a daily basis.
- When you’re confident enough, remove the lead and practice in a safe and controlled environment.
Remember, short and consistent daily sessions always work best. 10-15 minutes is enough – anything more than that and your dog is likely to ‘switch off.’ And always keep it fun and positive! Much like infants, dogs learn best when they feel happy and safe. The last thing you need is patience. Some dogs learn quicker than others. Some dogs are more stubborn than others. But stick with it! A well-trained dog is a much happier and safer animal.